Thursday, April 11, 2013

It's a food channel kind of day

        Today I have been watching the Food channel nearly all day.  I have been glued to it ever since the dish network guy came and fixed our dish network.  I have watched ooey gooey cooking things.  Now if you know me personally or at all really, you know I am a foodie, I am a pusher of food ,I teach cooking,  I love to cook and eat--I am even working on a cookbook titled "How to get your husband in the kitchen without getting naked"--great title, isn't it????  But even for me I think that I have overextended the allowed amount of time one is supposed to sit in front of a television and watch all the highly caloried, amazing foods.  I have of course eaten just about every yummy thing I could locate in the house as well wishing that the foods I am viewing would just magically appear in my house through the television screen.   I digress-- as I was sitting here on my touche all day I began self analyzing a little--after all the bad food I ate today I felt I must reflect a little I guess.   After my sugar laden brain began to clear from the fog I realized that the food viewing was an escape and I am feeling a bit depressed.  I didn't see it coming on full blown, it just kind of sneaked up on me.
    In reflection I should have seen it coming...I spoke last week at a retreat for families that have lost soldiers, I got to hear their stories of loss and share mine as well.  I thought I had guarded myself well enough as not to carry it home with me but I am realizing that it has hung on at least to my coat tails
     I have been on face book this week and have heard of three children that have passed away-one 3 1/3 month old to SIDS, and two young adults to suicide.  I don't watch the news as many of you know because of the heartache and pain in it and wasn't ready to hear these three items on face book.
     I just want to challenge those of you that have lost loved ones to pay attention to what you are doing, if you are zoning and escaping like I have been today perhaps there is more of a reason for it than just wanting to learn a new recipe--perhaps it goes deeper.  If you are a friend of a bereaved loved one be understanding if they are sitting in front of the television for hours, or maybe out of the house window shopping for hours, maybe reading for hours, maybe just escaping for hours.  They may not even realize that they are depressed--heck, I speak about grief and I didn't realize that I am in a nice pit of it--a cherry pie pit of it.  

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What do you see and remember ?

     I was watching a television show today and there was a woman dying in the scene.  The detective asked an individual what her name was.  What did I see and remember?  I saw DJ at the accident scene and I remember the ambulance driver asking me what his name was.  That is what flashed through my mind.
     I see ambulances drive by me and I immediately pray for the person in it.  I have done this for years, years before DJ passed away.  What do I see and remember every time I see an ambulance? I see the ambulance I was following the day of DJ's accident.  I remember DJ being in it and it pulling over to work on him.  I remember my own flashing hazard lights going on while I was speeding along behind it.
     There are chocolate kisses in my refrigerator.  They have traveled three houses.  What do I remember when I look at them?  I remember DJ's funeral and asking people to bring lots of chocolate to the luncheon because he loved chocolate.  Those kisses are from his funeral.  That is what I see when I see them.
     I have a small porcelian cat in my hutch that sits in the front of every thing else, directly in the middle for all to see.  It is little, didn't cost much and to most people means very little.  All that said though, I see a gift DJ gave me for Mother's day, a small cat that he couldn't wait to give to me so he gave it to me early.  It reminded him of our own cat and he just couldn't contain his excitement--that is what I see and remember when I see that little inexpensive cat.
     What do you see?  What do you remember?  To the people around us they may not understand why chocolate kisses are so important or why a small, insignificant figurine can mean so much to us.
To other people they may not understand why we see a car, a television show, a piece of clothing, etc that makes us remember, makes us see things they cannot see.  We the bereaved see two worlds-the one in front of us and the one with the memories of our child in it. 
     I am at a point in my journey that most things I see now give me good memories-not too many cause me great amounts of pain and grief.  Every now and then something can pop up and surprise me but not as much as year one or year two or even year three. 
     If you have lost a child be thankful for the things that remind you of your child.  Try to keep only the good thoughts associated with them if you can-bad memories take care of themselves plenty without our help.  If you are reading this and haven't lost a child please understand our attachment to these things, to these memories-they are forever part of our second world we live in and we are trying very hard to balance those worlds. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

A little jealous,,,

     There are many bereaved parents that still hear their child's voice.  They hear them in their prayers, in a whisper maybe or in their dreams.  Some parents receive signs from their child--there are pennies coming from nowhere, orbs floating about in pictures, feathers dropping from the heavens.  Whatever your thought is on these signs never discredit them--if they give a parent or loved one peace then they are wonderful things.
     I have to admit that I am jealous of this however.  I do not hear DJ's voice--audibly or in a whisper.  I have not seen DJ in my dreams more than three times in almost seven years.  I have prayed for this in the past, I have asked God to let me see DJ in my dreams but I do not get this and I have come to accept this- after all, what else can I do??
     Last night I asked God to let me dream about DJ, I am not sure why I felt I needed to see DJ exactly but I did ask.   I woke up this morning with no dream of DJ, I woke up this morning not surprised and not disappointed because I have grown used to this after all. 
    Then I checked my phone and had a message from a young woman who I love like a daughter.  She is DJ's best friend's sister and I have known this girl her entire life.  On my phone was a lovely message about DJ.  She proceeded to tell me that she was reading the Word and listening to some music.  The words of the song were "all of heaven, all of creation, all the angels sing holy" and (her words) she said she could feel the heaven's army protecting her and could suddenly imagine DJ singing the song and telling her "You can do it". (he would tell his friends this all the time-great encourager). 
     So maybe, I don't get to hear DJ with my own ears or see him in my own dreams but he speaks to me through others and for that I am thankful.  I do not think this is a coincidence, I don't believe in those.  I believe in God's incidences and this is one of them.  I asked to see DJ in my dreams but got a wonderful message from a wonderful girl.  With that message I now have peace over my not getting to see DJ because God allows me to hear from him from other people.  I finally get it and finally accept it. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Privileged Information

     A few months ago I was showing some clients a home and we began talking about our families.   I told them that I lost my son DJ in 2006.  I suppose I did expect some sort of comment back from them, most people will acknowledge the statement with something like "I'm sorry" at the very least.  Now I didn't tell them about DJ to get that sentiment, I wasn't looking for any sympathy-- we just had established a relationship in the time I had dealt with them and I felt they were nice enough, etc that I could share that with them.  (Sorry for the poor grammer and rambling here).  Anyhow they didn't say a word and continued with the conversation as if they didn't even hear me mention DJ's name.  I have to say I was really surprised but not shocked.  I have been in situations before when people will gloss over DJ's death and change the subject.  This time however there was no acknowledgement at all. 
      Awhile back I was having a phone conversation with someone and I made a mental decision not to say a thing about DJ.  I didn't know this person well enough to give them that privileged information about me, my family and my son. 
     I write about this because these are two incidents where the words we say, the information we share about our child is privileged information.  I don't think, no- I know, that people who we share this information with do not realize how much we are truly sharing.  We are baring a little bit of our soul with them-something so private and privileged that we do not share it with everyone.  To give a person a bit of our story we are truly risking the memory, the life of our child.  We do not chose to tell about our loved ones flippantly, it is not just words to us--it is a memory, an honor we are giving them and they are choosing to accept or deny it.
     When DJ first passed away I probably told everyone about it.  Ofcourse it wasn't hard to know something was wrong-grief was written on every inch of my body and that of my families.  But now as almost 7 years have gone by I chose who I tell.  Not everyone is worthy of knowing about DJ's life and our loss. 
     Not everyone is worthy of knowing how wonderful and cool he was.  How DJ could light up a room just by walking into it. How beautifully green his eyes were.   How he would be into his first year of college now.  Not everyone gets the opportunity to learn that he teased his family-his brother almost mercilessly and was a constant source of support to his friends.   How he was his sisters very best friend and how much he is missed.
     I now choose who I share my memories with, I choose who I share my life and DJ's with.  I have learned over the years that not everyone is worthy of this part of my life.  Knowing about DJ is a privilege.  I hope all of you reading this have friends and family that you can share that privilege with.  I hope that all of you reading this that have not lost a child now realize what a gift a bereaved parent is giving you by sharing their words with you.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


     Well I guess when it rains it pours and today it is pouring.  I had to take in our german shorthair dog, Hershey to the vet today.  She is the last living connection to DJ.  She was his dog.  I have memories of him with her when he was living and I have memories of her looking for him after he passed away.  I didn't know that dogs grieved, that pets grieved but I certainly learned that they do after DJ passed away.  For weeks after his death she would push DJ's door open to his room and go lay on his bed. 
     Hershey either has a terrible infection or cancer.  They are running tests on her and she will be at the vet overnight.  I am not ready to lose her yet.  I don't want her to be in pain and I would not be selfish enough to keep her alive just for me but I am not ready to lose that connection yet. 
     I have memories of DJ walking her with my husband, I have memories of her leaving a dead half of a rabbit by his bed as a gift and him screaming at the top of his lungs for me to remove it.  She created memories with him and she has kept a lot of that alive.  I don't have the same kind of memories when I see his bike and certainly not his skateboard stuff.  She is a living memory of DJ and it becomes another loss.  I further loss that is attached to DJ. 
     There is so much fall out after a child dies and so much further loss--loss that can happen years later-6 years later for us with Hershey.  I am hoping she will be fine but eventually it will happen and eventually it will trigger grief.  Grief beyond the loss of her, grief attached to DJ.
     I don't think people who have not lost a child understand how important the child's pet is to us.  I know people who had their child's dog attend the funeral.  There are families that have buried their child's dog alongside of their child's grave.  I know people who had to take in their adult child's dogs. 
     I have no challenge today except that if you are not a bereaved parent you have some understanding for those of us that may act strange at times, or atleast act in a way YOU may think is strange.  Lisa


Monday, December 10, 2012

What do you believe in???

     Let me start by apologizing for not blogging for a long time-my life has been hectic and crazy and it just hasn't been on my radar for awhile.  Also, when I blog I try to post them to websites and facebook pages of bereaved parents to help them but I tend to read and read those sites and it can put me in a hole after a day of posting! Today though it jumped on my radar screen...

     Today I was looking at my Christmas tree-which by the way is very, very pink-a complete different tradition for our family since DJ passed away--which is in another blog from the past somewhere in my list of posted blogs-Anyway-- I was looking at our Christmas tree and under it I put a book titled "The First Christmas."  The book is the story of Christ's birth.  I looked at it and paused for just a second and thought to myself "Do I really believe that?"  Life is really tough right now as it is for many of you-finances are a struggle, businesses are down, grief is always somewhere on the threshold of my familie's life and today I challenged myself to see if I still truly believed in Christ. 

     If any of you are wondering, the answer was and is "YES, absolutely!!"  But I have to say honestly that after DJ passed away it would have been pretty easy for me to walk away from the Lord.  So many questions that I will never get the answer to until I see Jesus and DJ face to face in heaven...
  • Where were you God when DJ fell down? You could have kept him safe!
  • Why didn't you protect DJ when he was skateboarding? I have prayed for his safety his whole life, weren't you listening to me?  Where were your angels?
  • Why didn't you answer my prayers to save his life? Do you care about him or me?
  • Why didn't you heal DJ God? You heal others.
  • Why did our family have to lose DJ? Why did you pick him?
  • Why did Jake and Emilee have to lose a brother?  He was the glue and You took him!
  • Why did we have to have this horrible journey in life? You could have picked someone else!
  • Why, why, why?
    My questions remain unanswered but God didn't leave my side and I haven't left Him.  I needed Him every second, every day after DJ passed away.  I know that I would not be standing today if it weren't for Christ.  I know that without Him I would not still be married-the loss of a child is a heavy burden on any marriage.  I know that I believe in Christ, I know that I believe he died for my sins and I know that  I will see DJ in heaven again.

     I am not preaching to any of you, I am not trying to get you to believe what I believe.  But I know I had to stand firm on what I believed to stand firm after DJ passed away!

     What do you believe in?  What has kept you going?  What has kept you standing?  Have you forgotten what you believed in before your child died?  Have you quit holding on to what holds you up?  Today I am challenging you--get back to what you believed, get back to what gave you strength.  We all need to keep standing up after our child passes away whether we want to or not!  We need to stand strong for our remaining living children, for our spouses, for ourselves. Our children would not want us falling down, we owe it to them to honor them with our lives now.  Get back to your belief, get back to being strong even though you may not want to be.  What do you believe? 


Saturday, August 18, 2012

A sweatshirt

I haven't blogged much lately.  It is not because I have forgotten DJ-he lives in my heart and memories everyday.  It is not because I no longer grieve his loss-I just grieve less intensely than I did just a few years ago.  It is not because I don't love DJ anymore-there is not enough love in my heart to express that.  There really is no exact reason--time flies, yada yada yada. I guess there is a mild reason though-- On my my last blog I posted it to the grieving face book pages that I always do.  There are unfortunately lots of them--we are a continuing growing club and with that there are a lot of groups supporting families that have lost loved ones.  I never mentioned my book on the blog, I never even mentioned that I wrote a book about surviving the loss of a child but the person who administered the site removed the blog, stating something like-- "this sight is not for solicitations and I am sure you will understand why we are removing your blog".  Well, in all actuality I did not understand it.  Aren't we all there to support one another?  This road we are all on sucks and I was only trying to blog to help those that are on the road with me.  If I have ever pushed my book to anyone that reads my blog-I apologize now however, I truly only want to help and with that my book does offer help.  Okay, I have vented now and will get onto what I really want to say---

Our family had some friends over a few weeks ago.  The teenage daughter was cold and asked if she could borrow a sweatshirt.  I told her to go into my closet and just grab something to wear.  Out the girl comes in a sweatshirt last worn by DJ.  She had no way of knowing that it was his sweatshirt buried deep in my closet.  She had no idea that the entire time she was wearing it during the day all I could think of was DJ wearing it and the last time that he wore it.  It was a very bittersweet day and the cause of it was nothing more than a sweatshirt. 

I had a good memory of DJ wearing it--He was in history class in Junior high. The teacher told the students if they had on "Titan" wear they could get out early (the school's mascot is a Titan).  DJ was very quick on his feet--he always was actually until the accident ironically enough--He took out a marker and wrote a Titan design on the sweatshirt and the teacher let him go early.  Always a quick thinker.  This was the good memory.

The bad memory is not a memory but a realization that he was the last one ever to wear it and never would be wearing it again.  I would never see his skinny, tall body in it.  I do not need to explain this to you all because you get it.

The fact is that we all have bittersweet memories and we have no way of knowing when or what will trigger them.  I had a teenage girl go into my closet and find the only sweatshirt of DJ's in my closet. I didn't tell the girl it was DJ's, I didn't want to make her feel awkward or bad for grabbing it.  I let it go and kept it to myself.  Eventually as time goes on it is easier to do that than blurt out "You can't wear that, that is DJ's!!!!"    

There are many things that our family has that are DJ's and no one can touch them--his chocolate wafer bars in the fridge--yep even after almost 6 years they are saved.  The chocolate kisses from his funeral that are in a Ziploc bag that no one can eat.  His bicycle that no one can ride, etc.   There is actually quite a long list when I begin to think about it.  Maybe someday his things will be for others to have but for now they are not. 

His sweatshirt was used by a lovely girl who actually knew DJ before he died so all in all it was a good share, even if she didn't know it.  Maybe this is the beginning of letting some of his things go--maybe, maybe not.  I challenge you all to think about what you are holding onto and if it is time to let some of them go.  I'm not ready yet to let his things go but maybe tomorrow or next year--the wafers though will probably never be shared--I can't imagine they would taste good now anyway(insert smile here).  Take care all friends, new and old and continue to walk and breath if only second by second.  Lisa